1. Building a Life

An Update, An Agony And The Resistance

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. Some of you have been with me since 2012. Some of you may have just joined me this week. Either way, please allow me to reintroduce myself:

I’m Matt, the former consultant who booked a oneway ticket to Iceland. The guy who launched a publishing company releasing anti-guidebook-like Tales of places around the globe. The lad who works with Escape the City in London. The one who occasionally writes stories about career changetravel, books, and Serbia. And sometimes stories about stories themselves. The dude who occasionally gives TEDx talks about some of those things.

Maya Angelou once said:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

While the agony of an untold story does indeed live inside of me (I’ve been wanting to write fully about my 2012 European jaunt, the CliffsNotes version of which I delivered via my TEDx talk), I feel the agony of a different kind. It’s an agony that involves you.

It’s the agony of having a reader like yourself, one who’s granted me permission to occasionally enter your inbox — and then neglecting to enter your inbox. It weights quite heavily on me that I haven’t kept in touch and held up my end of the bargain.

The problem is that writing and sharing with you feels like a Herculean task in my head. It oddly occupies the same square footage as tasks of wildly varying importances: dealing with taxes, planning an evening talk at Escape, calling my mother on Mother’s Day (that’s today in the US! Please call your mother and/or another mother), and making sure I have clean underwear for the week ahead.

I carry the heavy load of feeling like I need to deliver something epic to you all each time I write. Being brief and consistent is something I haven’t allowed myself to be. It’s at the risk of being imperfect and incomplete. Even though I know that waiting for perfect is at the risk of paying homage to something that seems to be of vital importance to me.

I’ve realized a piece of me goes missing when I don’t write and share. When I do write, and especially when I share, I feel a sense of completeness. One weight removed. A feeling like my work on Earth has been done for the day. Ideally, done well.

Maybe that’s something to pay attention to. Yet I tend to forget that feeling until I go through the whole process again: Write, Share, Feel. Forget. Repeat.

I tried to make a promise back in September that you would hear from me weekly. It was at the same time I committed to my 100 Day Challenge. I kept both up for a while, but ultimately I didn’t stick with either. Both were canned as “failures” from where I stand. I did, however, learn a couple things:

First, 100 days is a pretty God damn long time to do anything; Second, I didn’t allow myself to structure my day, my week, my life in a way to succeed in my own challenge. Maybe that’s a bullshit excuse. Either way, I failed at it. (But some of you succeeded in my stead, so can’t chalk it up as a total loss!)

I’m not going to make any more false promises this time, but I will tell you that I’m moving into a better direction to allow that. I won’t promise a certain consistency, but I do plan to share with you more frequently.

In January, I started semi-religiously undergoing a daily practice called“Morning Pages,” a morning ritual where you write, longhand, three pages of anything. No judging, no pruning, no censoring. Just write what comes up. Get it out of your head and onto the page. So while I haven’t been writing publicly, I have been writing, maybe even more than I ever have before.

But the completeness isn’t quite complete. It’s not complete until I share.

There’s a brief moment of angst I must live through in order to experience that completeness, however. And that moment exists between my desire to push the “Send” button on this email and the actual pushing of it. It’s that sour stomach, sinking heart moment where you allow the world a glimpse into everything you are (and everything you’re not). Maybe that angst is a microcosm of what Steven Pressfield calls the “Resistance.”

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” 

Maybe you’re experiencing a similar agony on your brain or a similar angst in your heart when it comes to the actual doing of something. As much as that agony or that angst feels like a piece of you, like your burden to bear — maybe it’s time to look it in the eye and do something about it. Not all at once, but maybe once, right now, and for just a little bit. Maybe it’s time to write to those readers you feel like you’ve ignored. Nothing perfect. Nothing magical. But something.

This is my something.

What is yours?

If you’ve missed me, please say hi. And if you have any thoughts on what you’d like me to write about, and at what frequency you’d like me to write to you, please let me know that too!

(If you haven’t missed me or don’t wish for me to write to you any longer, feel free to unsubscribe. No hard feelings.)

And finally, a quick closing thought from a talk I gave Thursday at Escape:

No Perfect Timing

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